Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Begins $40M Redevelopment

Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms is progressing through a Master Development Plan to further connect an increasingly urbanized region with both regenerative agriculture and restored natural areas. The multi-year plan invests in infrastructure improvements and new facilities to provide an enhanced visitor experience through daily visitation, children’s and adult education programs and public events. Sustainability will be key. In time, Chatfield Farms will be a net-zero site, relying on electricity generated by a new solar array.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Denver Botanic Gardens manage the property together. 

Design renderings: Didier Design Studio Landscape Architecture
Architect: Wong Strauch Architects

Phase 1:

  • Expanded site infrastructure will account for all planned growth in current and future phases, including water, sanitary, solar and overall electrical improvements. A new entry drive and parking lot with 480 spaces will receive visitors. To encourage the use of renewable energy, electric car charging stations will be incorporated into the design of the parking lot. The parking lot will integrate bioswales and rain gardens to detain and filter stormwater and support a diverse community of native plants and tree canopy for shade. Complementary to the Master Development Plan, a one-megawatt solar array will be constructed at the south end of the property by the City of Denver, NREL and Xcel Energy.
  • The new Borgen Family Market Square will replace an existing asphalt parking area to become a visitor-oriented gathering space. Designed for flexible use, this central space will host seasonal festivals, farmers markets, vendors and food trucks, private events and informal gatherings.
  • The Welcome Center is a new 3,800 sq. ft. facility providing an improved arrival sequence for visitors into Chatfield Farms. The Center will include a variety of services for guests: ticketing; gift shop with limited coffee/beverages and snacks; and public restrooms. Flexibility allows for processing visitors on a regular basis indoors and handling large crowds with an outdoor wraparound design. This building will also include offices and a meeting space for the Chatfield Farms staff, along with general storage/delivery areas. A new all-electric system is planned for heating and cooling.

Phase 2:

  • The Education Center will be a 13,000 sq. ft. mixed-used facility that will include five classrooms, three of which will be flexible spaces with operable walls. There will also be a multipurpose space for functions and events. There will be several offices for staff and meeting rooms. A volunteer office and lockers will also be provided. This facility will have solar panels and will feature an all-electric heating and cooling system. The classrooms connect to outdoor learning areas featuring agriculture of the past, present and future, while affording views and access to the historic Hildebrand Ranch.
  • New public rest stops will be located on the south side of the property for visitors, including six individual family facilities and a green room with a restroom, serving as a pre-function space and changing room for private events such as weddings.
  • The Gardens for the West area will expand with new demonstration areas to highlight broader collections of native, resilient, well-adapted and regionally relevant plants. Incorporating more lavender crops, a pollinator walk and an ethnobotanical collection are planned components of the expansion. A series of interconnected pathways throughout the area will provide new visitor experiences and link the core campus. These new gardens will lead to a new butterfly house located on the trail to the Deer Creek natural area and wetlands.

Phase 3:

  • The Stage will be a 3,400 sq. ft. permanent structure in the current amphitheater area for outdoor performances. Designed for special events and concerts, the stage will include a green room and restroom for performers, along with a storage room. There will also be a sound booth located to be integral to the amphitheater lawn, along with a speaker system infrastructure along the perimeter.
  • A new restaurant will be a 5,600 sq. ft. full-service eating and dining facility with a 3,500 sq. ft. outdoor patio area. Situated on the top of the amphitheater, with sweeping views of Deer Creek and the Hogback to the west, the restaurant will feature farm-to-table fare with many ingredients sourced on-site. The facility will have a lower level containing storage, coolers and mechanical utilities servicing the building.
  • A new Outdoor Classroom will be an open-air, 1,000 sq. ft. covered structure located on the south side of the property near the start of the Riparian Nature Walk. This is a flexible space for multiple uses and activities, including learning and interaction for visitors or school groups to gain an understanding of this special ecosystem.
  • A Riparian Nature Walk will enhance visitor access along the Deer Creek corridor with new opportunities for recreation and wildlife observation while minimizing disturbance and impact to this precious area. Portions of the Nature Walk will be designed as an elevated boardwalk to provide access and views to new portions of Deer Creek. Native trees and plantings will continue ongoing efforts to preserve and restore this unique habitat.

The total budget for all phases of improvements at Chatfield Farms will be between $35 million and $40 million, according to Denver Botanic Gardens chief executive officer Brian Vogt.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top